The Future is Closer than We Think
We live in a chaotic world marked by continuous change. And regardless of what our cognitive biases lead us to believe, we have little control over the nature and speed of that change. Our control is bounded, for the most part, by how we choose to react to what types of change.
Driven by technological innovation and invention, the velocity, magnitude, and acceleration of change is more disruptive now than at any other time in human history, and it’s picking up speed.
From Anthropology to Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy to Physics, Economics to Environmental Science, Biology to Behavioral Science, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and experts from every corner of the economy are tossed about by the swirl of disruption. With the passing of each day, we are smacked in the face by what often feels like a harsh reality – we don’t know what we thought we knew.
Do not despair. Evolution has trained us well. We can only understand and know anything by looking back in time. And that’s precisely what we do. We just don’t realize that’s how our brains support our ability to think ahead, plan, create strategies, and simulate various courses of action based on an unknowable future. We learn patterns (the dots we connect), which, in turn, helps us shape the stories that serve to ground us in the moment with a forward-looking orientation and the ability to estimate directionality. In the simplest of explanations, this is what provides our modicum of control – our ability to exercise agency and choose how we react to change – our adaptability.
There is no vaccine able to bestow immunity from disruption. Consider this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Alain Aspect, John Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics, “for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science”, creating a tear in the fabric of Einstein’s space-time continuum.
Nobel Prize in Physics (NobelPrize.org)
When we suddenly learn that there is no speed limit (i.e., the speed of light) in the world of subatomic particles (quantum mechanics), our world doesn’t crash down upon us. We look back to understand and simply modify our story going forward. The swirl of uncertainty and continuous change serves as a breeding ground for innovation and invention.
The path from theory to innovation and disruption is a downhill journey. Quantum computing is a text-book example of technological innovation so potentially impactful as to create a new paradigm shift. And it is coming fast. Read about how fast here.
In the time it takes to read Einstein’s 1905 paper on the Special Theory of Relativity, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,” we will experience more change than we have since 1905. Mainstream use of quantum computing, a technology built on the physics of subatomic particles, specifically quantum entanglement, is literally knocking on the front door.
Such an enormous leap forward flows from accepting uncertainty - we don’t know what we thought we knew – and choosing to react by leveraging the newly connected dots that now shape what we think we know. The nature of innovative disruption would seem to suggest all things are possible.
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